Scottish Political Insider – Friday 24 August 2018

Scottish Political Insider – Friday 24 August 2018

Scottish Political Insider – Friday 24 August 2018

Confirmation came this week that Scotland’s NHS has drawn up “detailed plans” to ensure enough medicine and equipment in the event of a no-deal Brexit. The news came from Chief Medical Officer Dr Catherine Calderwood who was speaking to NHS managers in England. She warned of a lack of planning over the impact of leaving the EU without a deal, saying medical supplies that might be “problematic to access” after Brexit had been identified. Many drugs and health equipment in the UK are manufactured in mainland Europe.

Scotland’s retailers want the government to scrap plans allowing councils to levy a new business rates tax on out of town and online businesses.  The Scottish Retail Consortium says the new tax would be an “unnecessary distraction”, adding a fresh element of unpredictability and complexity into the rates system. Retailers are worried that it will burden them with further costs at a time when they need to invest resources in responding to changing shopping habits.

The SRC says that many retailers already stump up for the headline business rate, the large business rate levy, and a Business Improvement District charge. Retailers are seeking clarity over how much the new tax would cost firms, how long it would apply for, and how the revenues raised would be used.

Elsewhere, and it has been reported in the media this week that Humza Yousaf is ready to abandon plans to merge British Transport Police into Police Scotland. Both Daniel Johnson and Colin Smyth (Lab MSPs) have written to the Cabinet Secretary calling on him to conduct a feasibility study on the merger, while Liam McArthur (Lib Dem MSP) felt that the Scottish Government was “making the same mistakes” following the “botched Police Scotland merger”.

Closer to home, Perceptive’s client Stratified Medicine Scotland Innovation Centre in Glasgow, was delighted to welcome Humza Yousaf for a visit and tour of its lab and research facilities on Wednesday.

And as the summer draws to a close, Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed that she is set to make an official visit to Catalonia. According to The Herald, she accepted the invitation from Catalan president Quim Torra to visit Barcelona in a sign of closer ties between the two pro-independence governments. The two leaders met at Bute House in Edinburgh last month.

FOCUS ON… the Department of Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity: The third of our summer Focus series looks at a new-look department with just two ministers but widened responsibilities.  Headed up by Cabinet Secretary Michael Matheson (former Justice Secretary) the department covers transport and public transport, infrastructure investment policy, cities and City Deals and town centres. Michael Matheson is supported by one junior minister, Paul Wheelhouse, as Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands.


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